The Holy See
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The Church and Tourism: Serving People 
on Their Travels for Recreation


THE PILGRIM CHURCH on earth has been sent to proclaim the Gospel to every creature (see Mk 16, 15); to carry on the work of Christ, who was not sent into the world "in order to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him" Jn 3, 17). She wants to perform her ministry of service to men within the concrete realities that they face today and that are part and parcel of modern civilization.(1)

The Church keeps a keen eye on the "new ways of thinking, acting and making use of leisure,"(2) which bear witness to the birth of a "new humanism."(3) She is occupied with the transformation of the social order in which she lives, and with "its expectations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics."(4) She looks "with the utmost good will on this age of ours and its interplay of varied and contrasting forces ... with profound understanding, with sincere admiration, and with the sincere intention not of mastering it but of serving it, not of despising it but of increasing its dignity, not of condemning it but of bringing it comfort and salvation."(5)

Among these transformations and large-scale social phenomena, tourism is certainly an important one. In some nations it is already a mass phenomenon; in others it is just beginning to take shape or is growing day by day. Because of the forms it takes, tourism is already "almost boundless"(6) in scope; for it fosters close relationships between men of al cultures and religions.


The Church is rightfully concerned about the extent and complexity of this new use of leisure time, which often shifts large numbers of people from their usual residence to other places inside or outside their own country, for some reason other than the quest for profit or work.(7) So the Church wants to do all she can, insofar as she is able, to make sure that tourism "supported by sound guidelines and noble intentions, may be a valid factor in modern cultural formation, a bond of good will and international peace between peoples, and a phenomenon which signifies that the human spirit is being carried to ever loftier heights worthy of God’s blessing."(8)

Aware of the many problems that this phenomenon, a "sign of our times," involves for the care of souls, the Church rejects discouraging diagnoses. She seeks to offer remedies, with the aim of purifying and blessing the aspirations of contemporary society and "of preaching the Gospel message to it... somehow keeping up with it in its swift and continuing process of change." It is the Church’s judgment that human and Christian values are not jeopardized by modern tourism itself, but by the inadequate spiritual maturity(10) of the tourist (including all those who serve in the tourist industry in various capacities) and of the communities to or from which he journeys.

Thus it is clear why the Church noting the obnoxious social and economic disparities that afflict various nations, and being concerned about the many disconcerting features of modern tourism, appreciates the lofty values and specific improvements which she can foster toward the revitalization of the new order of human relations. Indeed, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council urged the faithful to take advantage of tourism in its healthy forms: "May their leisure hours be used properly for relaxation and for their strength of mind and body through freely chosen study and activity, through traveling which refines a man’s nature and helps people to get to know each other, through watching sports events and taking part in them, which can help to preserve emotional balance in the community as well as in the individual and can help to establish fraternal relations between men of all nations, races and backgrounds."(11)

Moreover, considering the continuing expansion of tourism, its international dimensions, its intense dynamism, the profound transformations it provokes and the serious questions it poses, the Church is prompted "not to stand still in traditional postures but to seek out new pastoral forms."(12) She is stimulated to furnish timely and appropriate remedies for tourists, and for those who derive their work and livelihood from tourism. In this way the men of our age, who through this phenomenon too "are already linked more closely together by social, technological and cultural ties, are to achieve full unity in Christ as well."(13)

Analyzing the developing thrust of the human community, we can foresee that leisure time—and hence tourism, which is one of its real components—will pose a major problem for man in the future, as we get around to solving the graver economic, social and political problems in various regions. For in differing measures people will enjoy more and more freedom; this will favor a greater opportunity to reflect and enjoy God’s gifts, or an even more radical dehumanization.

Pastors of souls and prudent Christians are obliged to do everything they can to make sure that leisure time becomes a time when men show greater appreciation for their economic, cultural, emotional and spiritual affluence, and dedicate themselves to turning tourist time into a time of eternal salvation.


The evangelization of this contemporary "social phenomenon"(14) is a task incumbent on the whole People of God, both clergy and laity, according to their station. It should make clear the new dimensions of charity,(15) and our solicitude for the new form and structure of the Christian community that tourism is helping to vitalize, expand and transform.

The responsibilities growing out of this situation are numerous. They can readily be seen by anyone who, without bias, observes the fundamental changes wrought by this modern form of travel—on the younger generation in particular, and on places that are the tourist’s starting point or destination.

The Second Vatican Council urged the sacred hierarchy to show particular concern for those faithful "who, on account of their way or condition of life, cannot sufficiently make use of the common and ordinary pastoral services of parish priests or are quite cut off from them. Among this group are very many migrants, exiles and refugees, seamen, airplane personnel, gypsies, and others of this kind. Suitable pastoral methods should also be developed to sustain the spiritual life of those who journey to other lands for a time, for the sake of recreation. Episcopal conferences, especially national ones, should pay energetic attention to the more pressing problems confronting the aforementioned groups. Through common agreement and united efforts, such conferences should look to and promote the spiritual care of these people by means of suitable methods and institutions. They should first bear in mind the special rules already laid down or due to be laid down by the Apostolic See. These can be suitably adapted to the circumstances of time, place, and persons."(16)

The Christian community, for its part, should consider its responsibilities toward all those who enter it as tourists, no matter how short a time they may be there or what their culture and religion may be. It is bound to "show itself hospitable"(17) toward these people, and to offer them the solid witness of faith and charity.

The Second Vatican Council also reminded the laity of their duty to animate the world with a "Christian spirit,"(18) and to conduct themselves as "messengers of Christ"(19) when they go on pleasure trips.

The same thing holds true for workers in the tourist industry. In carrying out their work; they—perhaps even more than the tourist—experience the difficulty of providing solid witness to the faith.


The aforementioned considerations are fully confirmed by the following observations.

In whatever measure or manner the People of God are involved in tourism, whether it be directly or indirectly, they must be taught to appreciate the authentic values in this phenomenon from both a spiritual and a human standpoint. Among other things, tourism is a means of serving:

—the unity of the human family, its social transformation and elevation;

—man’s solidarity with the rest of the universe;

—the restoration of the human person.

Let us consider these points more explicitly:

Promotes social unity

a) Tourism is a foundation of unity and a factor leading to social transformation and elevation.

Tourism, if used properly:

—contributes to men’s mutual knowledge of each other, and to the development of a sense of hospitality;

—diminishes social and "racial" divisions; (20)

—overcomes segregation between peoples by encouraging them to surmount noxious prejudices through encountering different civilizations and cultures;

—constitutes a major economic asset for many nations and promotes new work opportunities, thus limiting the phenomenon of emigration in some regions;

—promotes the process of unification toward which the People of God is ordered.(21)

In such ways as these tourism can not only become an instrument of peace and brotherhood between peoples; it can also readily foster real and valid conciliation between believers of various religions and between non-believers, becoming an instrument of ecumenical encounter and dialogue in a spirit of charity and hope.(22)

Fosters solidarity with nature

b) Tourism fosters man’s solidarity with the rest of the world.

Tourism, particularly in certain forms, fosters man’s familiar acquaintance with nature. It promotes his appreciation of nature’s resources and renews the ties between him and them that are easily shattered by technology. It reveals the wondrous beauties of creation as the common heritage of all mankind.(23)

These ties are contained in the order of Providence, which entrusted the work of creation to man.(24) "Through his bodily composition he gathers to himself the elements of the material world. Thus they reach their crown through him, and through him raise their voice in free praise of the Creator."(25)

So man’s aspiration to use created things, from which tourism draws support and which it in turn fosters, is both good and legitimate. "For, redeemed by Christ and made a new creature in the Holy Spirit, man is able to love the things created by God and ought to do so. He can receive them from God, and respect and reverence them as flowing constantly from the hand of God. Grateful to his Benefactor for these created things, using and enjoying them in detachment and liberty of spirit, man is led forward into a true possession of the world, as having nothing, yet possessing all things."(26)

Refreshes body and psyche

a) Tourism refreshes the human person.

Tourism can also be considered a valid factor in the refreshment of the human person. In it body and psyche are restored from the fatiguing grind of work and everyday living. Man asserts his desire for freedom and movement; he establishes interpersonal relationships in a special context of serenity, of greater confidence, and of fuller readiness for encounter and dialogue.

Rightly used, tourism also takes the guise of self-education and personal enrichment, particularly by virtue of its cultural element. It is not merely an escape or psychic relaxation from the often debilitating monotony of workaday life; it can also offer a "precious human influence."(27)

Tourism promotes a sense of independence and of respect for others. It stimulates admiration for, and draws attention to, centers of interest. By encouraging relaxation of the spirit, it nourishes certain aspects of personality which otherwise would remain quite impaired.(28) Mindful of this, the Second Vatican Council expressly recommended that working people "should also have the opportunity freely to develop their energies and potentialities, to which perhaps their professional work may give little enough scope."(29)

* * *

Tourism generally takes its form from the spiritual formation of those who engage in it. It becomes a factor for development when man takes it up and lives it with an eye on the recreation begun by the Lord’s Resurrection.(30)

This obviously presupposes that the Christian is fully educated to carry out his responsibilities with free decisions and to organize his own time personally, especially in the context of the greater autonomy which he enjoys when he is away from his usual place of abode.

On the other hand, when the person engaged in tourism lacks sound moral training, he can turn into a distracted wanderer, a hasty traveler, and a slave of the many media afforded him by the rapid rate of progress. He can become a superficial person, incapable of human dialogue; a heedless observer of the beauties of nature, and of the rich rewards of human labor; an eager pursuer of evil pleasures, who goes so far as to abuse the hospitality that is offered him.(31)


Pastoral Practice

An effective and organic pastoral approach to the tourist phenomenon calls for careful coordination at the following levels:

a) the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Section for the Pastoral Ministry to Tourism);

b) the episcopal conferences;

c) the dioceses.


By virtue of the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae,(32a) the pastoral direction of tourism comes under the competence, responsibility and activities of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy. It has a special section, attached to the second office, that is concerned with the pastoral ministry to tourism. The principal tasks of this special section are:

—to study the effects of the tourist phenomenon on the spiritual life of the faithful(33) and to examine them in the overall social context;

—to coordinate "apostolic efforts so that they may respond equally to the new needs both of tourists and of the various people who render them service";(34)

—to maintain relations with the organs of the Holy See whose particular competence it is to study the worldwide problems posed by tourism,(35) and with the delegates or commissions of episcopal conferences that are concerned with pastoral service to tourism;

—to encourage international and national conventions on the renewal of pastoral efforts to tourism, and not to neglect opportune encounters with international organizations of lay people or our separated brethren, with a view toward possible harmonious collaboration in spreading the spiritual values of tourism that should influence all men of good will.


As was provided in the ‘motu proprio’ Ecclesiae Sanctae (I, no. 9),(35a) and in accordance with the spirit of the Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church (no. 18),(35b) each and every episcopal conference, whose competence it is to establish concrete, appropriate conditions and procedures for pastoral work, must necessarily set up a commission or, at the very least, delegate a priest to examine the local pastoral needs of tourism. They must keep an eye on actual statistics, so that all the pastoral efforts relating to tourism are coordinated as real needs dictate. This calls for:

a) study "of the new forms of presence and of proclaiming the Gospel,"(36) so as to meet the spiritual needs of Christian tourists and to offer a chance for fraternal encounter and dialogue to all tourists of good will;

b) the organization, vivification, revitalization and coordination of pastoral work for tourists on a nationwide level, utilizing meetings with clergy and laity and not neglecting any aspect of tourism;

c) the selection and formation of certain priests, outsiders included,(37) to serve dioceses in which there is much tourism;

d) the establishment of useful international meetings between various episcopal conferences concerned with pastoral work among tourists.

The aforementioned commission or priest-delegate should make use of both trained priests and, in particular, lay experts.

Among the latter it would be wise to include experts in sociology, cultural affairs and tourist work—in particular, official representatives of airline and steamship companies, tour agencies, hotels, tourist workers in general, and members of the tourist press.

Episcopal conferences are also urged to do what they can to see to it that, during peak tourist periods especially, faculties for hearing confession are extended to all priests who already possess them in their own dioceses— so long as they are traveling within the boundaries of the nation and even, in certain cases, when they are traveling abroad.

Similar norms should be provided with regard to sacred preaching and Eucharistic worship, without infringing upon the rights of the local ordinary.

Contacts and relations with our separated brethren should also be fostered, through properly organized conventions, with a view to possible collaboration in the broad realm of tourism, in accordance with the rules laid down by the Secretariat for Christian Unity.


A) General Norms

The pastoral problems of modern tourism cannot be solved effectively through the initiatives of individual pastors of souls. Thus pastoral action in this area cannot be left to individual effort, nor can it be pursued without coordinated, mutual action.

After prior consultation with his pastoral council, the local ordinary will have to establish concrete programs of action so that all available resources are united to provide a truly effective ministry and to establish a dialogue with tourists. In both the departure and arrival dioceses for tourists, pastoral work among tourists calls for the coordination of several interwoven means and remedies. Thus there must be a community effort so that "the pastoral work in the diocese will be unified and made more effective,(39) insuring effective "harmonious action." As was noted above, tourism exerts an influence on broad areas of social life, affecting the "outlook and habits of our age."(40) Community effort on the part of the diocese will be worthwhile even if not all its parishes are tourist attractions.(41)

Areas requiring action

Pastoral work among tourists, then, is to be regarded as an ordinary and essential part of diocesan pastoral work. This applies particularly to the following aspects:

a) undertaking efforts to explain the values that tourism can provide to everyone;

b) preparing and training Christians to use tourism wisely;

c) educating the faithful so that the expenses of tourism are not an affront to poverty; so that they learn the values which tourism, rightly used, can offer to the individual and society;

d) providing spiritual assistance to tourists, to businessmen in the tourist industry, and to all who are dependent on them;

e) vivifying the lay apostolate with regard to tourism; (42)

f) taking action to foster worship on the part of our separated brethren (see below).

So we can draw these conclusions:

1. It is necessary to enkindle an awareness of the positive human and Christian values of tourism, particularly through preaching and catechesis, so that it may represent joyous participation and communion with the Lord’s Resurrection.

2. So that the Christian may be helped to fulfill his duties with a deeper and more personal commitment, it is recommended that the inculcation of the aforementioned values be an integral part of scholastic education, and a topic for the social communications media. This will contribute to a more satisfactory formation of a human and Christian conscience "for a genuine solution to the numerous moral problems which arise in individual life and in society." Tourism is often one of the causes of such problems.

3. The clergy and laity should be trained so that they are familiar with this phenomenon’s positive and negative effects on the care of souls and on the community. In this way they will be able to meet effectively and resourcefully the spiritual needs occasioned by tourism today, so that in this area, too, the Church will engage herself in human society in a spirit of service.(44)

Tourists and the Eucharist

4. The formation of Christians with regard to tourism is completed by the celebration of the Eucharist, "the fountainhead and high point of the whole Christian life."(45) In the Eucharist, tourists and the personnel of the tourist industry offer the Divine Victim to God. And they also offer themselves(46) in their particular state of joy and freedom, taking special enjoyment in the gift of creation, or rendering service to their brothers.

From communion with Christ’s Body they also derive the power to adhere steadfastly to baptismal and moral grace,(47) to properly exercise the apostolate which the Church entrusts to them and expects them to carry out. Tourism, as a "harbinger of unity and peace," finds its focal point in the Eucharist, which is "a sign of unity and a bond of charity for the People of God," and the basic source of a freedom that only knows how to do good.

Moreover, by participating in the Eucharist, the Christian becomes akin to the travelers on the road to Emmaus (see Lk 24, 13-32). He will more easily see his fellow tourists—those he meets on his travels or those he serves—as his brothers in Christ.

B) Particular Norms

The Church has realized the necessity of continually adapting her pastoral methodology to the new needs of the day. She seeks to achieve "a better world,"(49) in the face of present-day transformations. Considering these facts, this General Directory deems it advisable to make some concrete proposals. In each individual diocese these proposals should be adapted to the prudent judgment of the ordinary and to its pastoral features. These features vary, of course, in different regions, often to a marked degree.(50)


a) Clerical formation in general

—He shall provide orientation courses on pastoral work among tourists, and also appropriate field work(51) (for example, trips of a cultural nature), so that future priests may be led into real pastoral work in this sector.(52)

—He shall encourage the study of foreign languages among clerics.(53)

—He shall teach them that overlooking or neglecting dialogue with tourists and tour personnel, especially with those who are less careful about practicing religion, is no less damaging than offering them poor hospitality.

b) The priestly ministry

—He shall arrange refresher courses and study days on pastoral work among tourists for the diocesan and religious clergy as well as for the laity. In this way they may compare experiences and spell out what help can be provided by episcopal conferences in rendering appropriate spiritual assistance to tourists and foreigners.(54)

—If need be, the episcopal conferences can then be asked to provide priests from the same nation or elsewhere to assist parishes in tourist localities during the "tourist season." In this way there will be no lack of clergy "of at least sufficient number and quality for the proper care of the People of God."(55)

—He shall ensure that a sufficient number of local clergy are present during peak tourist periods, giving each priest sufficient time off at some other time of the year.(56)

—In view of the international aspects of the tourist phenomenon, and in order to facilitate the administration of the Sacrament of Penance, he shall grant parish priests the faculty of delegating priests, who are staying temporarily in their parishes, to hear confessions (including those of foreign tourists) at the appointed times, provided that these transient priests have regular faculties in their own dioceses.

—He shall direct parish priests to lend a ready ear to proposals made by the laity regarding pastoral work among tourists whether these lay people are regular parishioners or tourists who belong to the parish for several months of the year.

—He shall urge those who care for souls to do all they can, directly or indirectly, to reach the greatest possible number of tourists and tour personnel, and not to forget those who are not of our faith.

—He shall remind priests to carry with them on their travels the holy oil for the anointing of the sick.

e) Sacred worship in tourist areas

—Considering the pleasant appeal that a decorous place of worship exerts on everyone, he shall make sure that its dignity is always preserved.

—He shall ensure liturgical services at suitable hours, their proper celebration, and sacred preaching suited to the spiritual needs of visitors.(57)

—He shall encourage the celebration of holy Mass on feast days, and the administration of the Sacrament of Penance in the languages most familiar to tourists, posting intelligible announcements in several languages, if necessary.(58)

—He shall encourage the celebration of evening Masses on feast days (and their vigils), and of at least one evening Mass on weekdays in parishes located in tourist areas. During such weekday services, experience has taught us that a brief homily would be quite useful.

—Paying due attention to actual statistics, he shall consider the advisability of celebrating Sunday or feast-day Masses on the evening before.(59)

—On feast days he shall ensure the celebration of holy Mass at camping sites, in a properly selected spot. Where possible, mobile chapels will be used, and he will encourage the presence of select groups, so that Christian witness may be furnished to tourists.

—He shall ensure sound coordination from parish priests, especially on feast days, so that religious services are available to priests in transit or to priests who are stopping temporarily in their respective parishes.

—He shall prescribe that, during the tourist season, the "Prayer of the Faithful" make mention of those who are engaging in tourism, urging them to fulfill their Christian duties; of those who cannot engage in tourism because they are poor; and of those who work in the tourist industry.

—He shall arrange to have the places of worship kept open all day, so that the piety of the faithful may be stimulated and so that they may see the art works to be found therein.

—He shall provide that part of the donations collected in church go for services required for the care of souls or for fostering dialogue with tourists.

—He shall urge contemplative monasteries to offer their fervent prayers on behalf of the pastoral ministry to tourism.

d) Religious tourism

—He shall see to it that religious tourism (pilgrimages) is highly prized, and that its spiritual element as well as the sacred character of traditional local feasts is maintained.

—He shall foster appreciation of the sanctuaries existing in his diocese, considering how much they contribute to the sacramental administration of Penance and the Eucharist, and how much influence they can exert on non-practicing tourists.

e) The Christian people

—He shall remind people that pastoral action will be a failure if there is no effective collaboration of the faithful, and if their personal and family life of itself does not provide solid testimony.

—He shall not only see to it that action is taken to preclude evils, especially in tourist centers; he shall also take steps to alleviate such evils before and after the tourist season, training the local population to render Christian witness, to be hospitable and charitable, and to be prudent in the presence of novel mental attitudes and ways of acting.

—If it is at all possible, especially in mountain areas and spas, he should try to collaborate with tourist societies in organizing and holding religious and cultural conferences and meetings, even outside church, the prime aim being to draw in those who are "far away" from the circle;(60) to achieve this end, the collaboration of teachers from training centers (universities, seminaries and so forth) would be quite valuable.

—He shall nurture the missionary aspect of pastoral work among tourists, providing adequate preparation to those who are about to visit non-Christian and non-believing countries, so that their way of living will afford solid witness to faith, charity and the civic virtues.

—He shall ensure the apostolic contribution of Catholic lay organizations to pastoral work among tourists, among touring young people in particular.

—He shall encourage social tourism, so that it may help to develop basic personal values and values associated with authentic life in society.(61)

—He should offer, directly or indirectly, "the possibility of finding rest and recuperation in holiday resorts, organized tours and children’s centers, even to those who lack adequate means." (62)

—He should develop proper appreciation for the monuments of Christian art that exist in his diocese, by providing clear-cut indications of their religious import; to this end he should promote the spiritual and cultural formation of guides, and the careful preparation of technical materials that would serve to develop appreciation for these monuments and to illustrate the nature of Christian living.(63)

—He shall take care to prevent the loathsome pursuit of money donations in tourist areas.

—He shall see that an effort is made to teach the faithful how to act as Christians on highways, so that the lives of others are not endangered by automobile drivers. Holy day and holiday sermons would be an opportune occasion for such teaching.(64)

—He shall promote the use of S.O.S. stickers in automobiles, as is already happening in some areas, so that prompt spiritual assistance can be provided in case of serious accidents.

f) Tour managers

—He shall develop a charitable dialogue with all tour managers, whatever their religion may be.

—He shall provide for the spiritual formation of Catholic Christians who work in various sectors of the tourist industry (for example, mountain guides, ski instructors, spa personnel and so forth) ; he shall also provide due spiritual assistance to hotelkeepers and their, personnel.(65)

—Where possible, he shall help priests engaged in the tourist apostolate to ensure ethical and professional training in professional schools of tourism.

—He shall encourage meetings with tour managers, so that their work is imbued with the spirit of the Gospel. He shall do this by:

1) coming to know their spiritual needs in particular;

2) intensifying their relations with the Church;

3) heightening their awareness of their obligations regarding the moral aspects of tourism.(66)

—He shall recommend to hotelkeepers, with the consent of the ministers serving our separated brethren, the advisability of placing a Bible in each hotel room, as is already done in some regions. If possible, the Bible should be available in the principal tourist languages.

g) Our separated brethren

—Aside from what has been said in the preceding pages, we would add the following:

a) He shall provide places of worship to non-Catholic Christians, in accordance with the norms of the Ecumenical Directory.(67)

b) He shall urge pastors of souls to direct non-Catholic Christians to their own minister and place of worship, if such exist, according to the spirit of the aforementioned Directory. For members of Eastern Churches, see nos. 53-54;(68) for other Christians, see nos. 62-63.(69)

To sum up: The local ordinary should see to it that his clergy regard tourists of every nationality, condition, age and religion as ordered toward the People of God—never as strangers to the community in which he is the pastor and shepherd of souls.(70)

In order to be able to ensure the aforementioned goals(71) "for the proper care of the People of God," (72) he should heed the analogous provisions of the ‘motu proprio’ Ecclesiae Sanctae (I, no. 9) (72a) see no. 15)(72b) That is, he should utilize a priest, or an ad hoc commission that would include laymen experienced in tourism and that would maintain regular relations with the priest-delegate or with the national commission for pastoral work among tourists.

It is also recommended that some members of the aforementioned commission, its presiding officer in particular (or the priest-delegate, if there is no such commission), also be active members of the diocesan council for priests and pastors.

Finally, all communities, particularly those affected by tourism, should carry out their apostolate as the influx of tourists dictates. This calls for spiritual openness and training, whose scope and fruitfulness will depend on the degree of charity that truly animates them. It should "tend to make the heart of the Catholic Church expand ... to give it the universal dimensions of God’s plan and of Christ’s love."(73)


Religious "serve the welfare of the whole Church according to their vocation and grace.(74) Thus they can offer solid assistance to pastoral work among tourists by offering prayers (see no. 23), (74a) by teaching doctrine according to their competence, and by utilizing the media of social communication. Since pastoral work among tourists is an integral element of an "overall pastoral effort," it should rely on the cooperation of religious priests,(75) as well as on that of secular institutes and nuns.

Moreover, religious priests and other institutes of perfection can be legitimately requested to carry out the apostolate among tourists. This is so not only because religious priests, like all priests, "are connected with the body of bishops,"(76) but also because their particular "mobility" — which founders often conceded to their religious communities—seems especially suited to this pastoral work and corresponds in a vital, contemporary way to the demands of their apostolic vocation. Thus, without doing injury to the particular character and aims of a given institute, its sound traditions, its internal discipline or the authority of it superiors, all religious are summoned as the bishops’ co-workers to meet the needs of the People of God, especially where many of the faithful cannot be reached by the ordinary forms of the ministry.

Moreover, religious superiors are urged:

a) to prepare and train useful coworkers in this modern form of pastoral work, through instruction in training institutes for pastoral work in this area, or through attendance at conventions designed to update the clergy’s knowledge about these forms of the apostolate;

b) to assign to parishes under the care of religious, priests who are thoroughly trained to handle the spiritual needs of this phenomenon.

In particular, the help of secular institutes would be of great use as ‘‘service’’ or as ‘‘Christian witness.’’

Finally, a word can be said about religious houses set up as lodgings or hostels in tourist localities. They should set a prime example—providing clear announcements about religious services, placing a Bible or at least a New Testament in every room and, above all, offering an atmosphere of fraternal encounter to everyone.


Where a permanent diaconate has been reconstituted by episcopal conferences, with the approval of the Pope (see Sacrurn Diaconatus Ordinem, I, 1),(76a) the work of such deacons, under the leadership of their superiors, will be of valuable help to the ministry of tourism. "Fortified by sacramental grace, in communion with the bishop and his presbyterium, they lend assistance to the People of God in the service of the liturgy, of the word, and of charity.(77) To do this, of course, it is absolutely necessary that their dioceses provide for their special training in this area of pastoral work also.


The lay apostolate is deeply involved in the pastoral effort to tourism, because it is laymen primarily who engage in tourism and who are responsible for the organization and management of the tourist industry.(78)

The Church, therefore, expects apostolic laymen to provide both witness and zealous, intelligent collaboration in the various areas of the tourist apostolate.

Obviously, this collaboration will vary with the circumstances, opportunities, and training of each individual. "Since they have an active role to play in the whole life of the Church, laymen are not only bound to penetrate the world with a Christian spirit, but are also called in the midst of the human condition to be witnesses to Christ in all things."(79) The following words of the Second Vatican Council are most important: "They should have an appreciation of the diocese... They should readily lend their energies to diocesan programs too, at the invitation of their bishop... This is all the more needed because the increasing mobility of people, and the parallel speed of communication and growing closeness between segments of society no longer allow any one segment to be self-contained. And so they should be concerned for the needs of God’s people over the whole range of the planet."(80) This is all the more true because "here they are the ones best able to assist their brothers..."(81) Indeed, since they are members both of the People of God and of civil society,(82) they have more frequent and ready opportunities for initiating dialogue with others.

It is to be hoped that they will become expert managers, or hold similar posts in the wide range of employment opportunities offered by tourism, thus serving as the good leaven in the dough (see Mt 13, 33). It is also to be hoped that apostolic laymen will be involved in tourist agencies that exist in non-Christian regions(83) to which Catholic tourists go.

The collaboration of the laity is deemed particularly advisable for promoting the following goals:

a) teaching people at all levels about the rational use of leisure time, and hence, of tourism also;

b) inculcating knowledge of tourism’s positive values with the help of all the social communications media;

c) providing deeper cultural awareness of tourism’s function in the life of man;

d) providing spiritual training to professionals.

In addition, the laity, particularly apostolic laymen, should be convinced that sound tourism demands the coordinated effort not only of individuals but of groups, because isolated individual efforts alone could not possibly effect the humanization of such a dynamic and irreversible phenomenon as tourism.

Finally, we know it is the hierarchy’s task to teach and authoritatively interpret the principles applicable in this area, and to promote the necessary structural forms required for a more earnest ministry to tourism and its complicated effects on the care of souls. But it is primarily up to the laity, using their free initiative and not passively waiting for orders or directives,(84) to inject a Christian spirit into the attitudes, laws, customs and behavior patterns of the community; and also to use tourism in a truly human and Christian way. For "a church is not truly established, does not lead a full life, is not a perfect sign of Christ among men, unless a laity worthy of the .name exists and works along with the hierarchy."(85)

Thus this General Directory has not neglected to recommend that properly trained laymen be included among the co-workers of the national or diocesan priest-delegate for tourist pastoral work (or the equivalent commission). The Second Vatican Council provides similarly for the diocesan pastoral commission.(86)


The foregoing considerations have made it clear that tourism itself allows people today the opportunity of knowing and visiting the whole earth —an earth that in a sense has become too confining for man; this will be even more true in the future. But even more importantly, tourism allows people to encounter other men as brothers.

This basic reality’ obliges the Church to form "adult" Christians, who will always and everywhere live according to the demands of the faith.

The pastoral mission to tourism is developing on many fronts and encountering ever new demands. And since it is a part of the whole pastoral effort to people "on the move," it can hardly be covered completely by the foregoing norms. But because these norms are the fruit of extensive experience already gained:

—they can help all people to recognize that "human progress can serve man’s true happiness";(87)

—they can get people to accept all the good aspects of dynamic modern progress;

—they enable us to foresee a greater expansion of tourism, both in locale and among the various sectors of the human family, so long as hatred and war do not drench the world in bloodshed;

—they can remind us that tourism is a factor in social elevation which can serve the cause of ecumenism and unification among peoples.

These norms are also meant to help pastors of souls to revitalize their traditional pastorate to souls, and to integrate it into the new social context brought about by tourism.

Finally, the norms of this General Directory are meant to foster communion between the faithful who use or serve tourism and the God of love:

"To turn from Him is to fall;
To turn to Him is to rise;
To remain with Him is to stand firm;
To leave Him is to die;
To return to Him is to be reborn;
To dwell with Him is to live."(88)

Rome, the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, 1969.



The Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, has graciously approved and authoritatively confirmed this General Directory, through a letter from his Secretariat of State (no. 128984/SI) dated March 27, 1969, and has thereby ordered its publication.


1 See Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, nos. 2 and 3 (TPS XI, 259-261); also Paul VI, homily at closing of Vat. Coun. II: AAS 58 (1966), 57.

2 Pastoral Constitution on the Church. in the World of Today, no. 54 (TPS XI, 296).

3 Ibid., no. 55 (TPS XI, 296).

4 Ibid., no. 4 (TPS XI, 261).

5 Paul VI, opening speech to second session of Vat. Coun. II: AAS 55 (1963), 856 (TPS IX, 188-139).

6 Paul VI: AAS 59 (1967), 429.

7 The principal forms of tourism are summer holidays and weekend trips, trips for thermal treatments, trips for religious, social, cultural, technological and sporting purposes, travel relating to conventions, pleasure cruises, etc.

8 Paul VI: AAS 55 (1963), 749.

9 Declaration on Christian Education, preface. See also encyc. Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 402 (TPS VII, 295-296); Paul VI, homily at closing of Vat. Coun. II: AAS 58 (1966), 54-56.

10 See Pastoral Constitution on. the Church in the World of Today, no. 13 (TPS XI, 267): "Often refusing to acknowledge God as his beginning, man has disrupted also his proper relationship to his own ultimate goal, as well as his whole relationship with himself, with others, and with all created things."

11 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 61 (TPS XI, 300). See also John XXIII: AAS 54 (1962), 455-457 (TPS VIII, 138-140).

12 Paul VI: L’Osservatore Romano, June 7, 1964.

13 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 1 (TPS X. 3591. See also Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 4 ETPS XI, 262): ". . . we can already speak of a true social and cultural transformation, one which has repercussions on man’s religious life as well"; ibid., no. 5 (TPS XI, 262-263); "... the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one. In consequence there has arisen a vast new series of problems, calling for new efforts of analysis and synthesis."

14 Paul VI: L’Osservatore Romano, Aug. 17-18, 1963. See also Pius XII, Mar. 30, 1952 and Oct. 29, 1952: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Ed. Pol. Vat., vol. XIV, 375-378.

15 See Sacred Congr. of the Council, Circulares Litterae, no. 104132, Mar. 19, 1966.

16 Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in. the Church, no. 18 (TPS XI, 188-189). See Paul VI, L’Osservatore Romano, Mar. 8, 1964: "Individual ecclesiastical authorities have received from God the grave responsibility of caring for the spiritual needs of the faithful who reside even temporarily under their jurisdiction. Their efforts should take the forms best adapted to ministering to the needs of groups." See also opening speech to fourth session of Vat. Coun. II: AAS 57 (1965), 794-805.

17 Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, no. 11 (TPS XI, 129).

18 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in. the World of Today, no. 43 (TPS XI, 286). See also Declaration on Christian Education, no. 2 (TPS XI, 202-203).

19 Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, no. 14 (TPS XI, 131). See also Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 9 (TPS X, 364-365).

20 See John XXIII, allocution opening Vat. Coun. II, Oct. 11, 1963: AAS 54 (1963), 789 (TPS VIII, 210): "Present indications are that the human family is on the threshold of a new era. We must recognize here the hand of God, who, as the years roll by, is ever directing men’s efforts, whether they realize it or not, toward the fulfillment of the inscrutable designs of His providence, wisely arranging everything, even adverse human fortune, for the Church’s good." See also Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 1 (TPS X, 359); Pius XII, Mar. 30, 1952: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Ed. Pol. Vat., vol. XIV, 39-45.

21 See Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, nos. 5 and 24 (TPS XI, 262 and 274); Dogmatic Constitution. on the Church, no. 1 (TPS X, 359). See also Paul VI, homily at closing of Vat. Coun. II: AAS 58 (1966), 6: "No one is a stranger to the Catholic Church, no one is excluded from it, no one is far away."

22 See Paul VI: L’Osservatore Romano, Jan. 23, 1969. See also Pius XII, June 5, 1952: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Ed. Pol. Vat., vol. XIV, 191-194.

23 See Pius XII, Oct. 29, 1953: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, vol. XV, 448.

24 See Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 12 (TPS XI, 266-267): "... man was created ‘to the image of God,’ is capable of knowing and loving his Creator, and was appointed by Him as master of all earthly creatures (see Gn 1, 26; Wis 2, 23) that he might rule over them and use them to God’s glory (see Sir 17, 3-10)"; see also nos. 14 and 57 (TPS XI, 267-268 and 296-297).

25 Pastoral Constitution. on the Church in the World of Today, no. 14 (TPS XI, 265).

26 Ibid., no. 37 (TPS XI, 231).

27 Pius XII, Oct. 29., 1953: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Ed. Pol. Vat., vol. XV, 449 (TPS 1, 60-63).

28 See Pius XII, Mar. 30, 1952 and June 5, 1952: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, vol. XIV, 43-44 and 193-194.

29 Pastoral Constitution on. the Church in the World of Today, no. 67 (TPS XI, 305).

30 See Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 11 (TPS XI, 266); Declaration on Christian Education, no. 3 (TPS XI, 203-204); encyc. Populorum Progressio, no. 1 (TPS XII, 144).

31 Pius XII: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Ed. Pal. Vat., vol. XV, 449 (TPS I, 62): There are those "who permit themselves abroad what conscience would reproach them for at home." See also Pius XII, Oct. 29, 1952: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, vol. XIV., 378.

32 This General Directory is concerned with pastoral action on the problems that tourism poses to the Church and is addressed to those bishops who have pastoral responsibilities. It follows that the Directory refers essentially to questions arising in this special apostolate. In the compilation of the various directives, pastoral experience already gained in many regions of the different continents has been duly taken into account.

32a See TPS XII, 393-420.—ED.

33 See Paul VI: AAS 59 (1967), 429.

34 Ibid.

35 The Holy See has been a permanent member of the International Union of Official Travel Organizations (IUOTO) since 1965, and is represented by a delegate.

35a See TPS XI, 381.—ED.

35b See TPS XI, 188-189.—ED.

36 Card. A. Cicognani, letter to 71st Congress of Catholic Workers, Annecy, Apr. 8, 1965: see La Documentation Catholique (1965), col. 891.

37 See Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, nos. 22 and 30 (TPS XI, 190 and 193-194).

38 Ibid., no. 30 (TPS XI, 193-194). 39 Ibid., no. 17 (TPS XI, 188).

40 Paul VI: L’Osserratore Romano, July 18-19., 1966.

41 See Decree on the Pastoral 0ffice of Bishops in the Church, no. 17 (TPS XI, 188): ... in given areas

42 See Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, nos. 5, 13, 14 IITPS XI, 124, 130-131).

43 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 16 (TPS XI, 268).

44 See Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 9 (TPS X, 364-365). See also Declaration on Christian Education, no. 3 (TPS XI, 203-204).

45 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 11 (TPS X, 366); see also no. 3 (TPS X, 860).

46 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 11 (TPS X, 3671.

47 See S. Th. III, q. 79, a. 1 and 5.

48 See St. Augustine, In loannem, Tract. XXVI, no. 13: PL 35, 1613. See also 1 Cor 10, 17; 12, 12, 27; Rom 12, 5; 8. Th. III, q. 82, a. 7, ad 2; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, nos. 3 and 11 (TPS X, 360, 366-367).

49Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 4 (TPS XI, 262). See also Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, no. 14 (TPS Xl, 130-131).

50 Some of the provisions concern the remote preparation for the pastoral ministry of tourism, and others the proximate preparation. But since this distinction is based, in the concrete, on the different situations prevailing in each diocese, it has not been deemed fitting to point out instances. It should once again be mentioned that the recommendations which follow grew out of apostolic experiences related by many national and diocesan delegates to the Section for the Pastoral Ministry to Tourism, and are mainly concerned with dioceses that are centers of tourism.

51 See Decree on Training for the Priesthood, no. 21 (TPS XI, 29).

52 See Card. A. Cicognani, letter to Congress of Italian Teachers of Pastoral Theology: L’Osservatore Romano, Sept. 18, 1966: "The Holy Father hopes that the teaching of the pastoral theology of tourism will have its proper place in ecclesiastical and religious institutes, thus encouraging a greater collaboration from the teachers of universities and. seminaries as well." See also Decree on Training for the Priesthood, nos. 8 and 19 (TPS XI, 22 and 28-29).

53See Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, no. 23 (TPS XI, 190-191).

54 See Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, no. 16 (TPS XI, 187-188); Decree on the Priestly Ministry and Life, no. 19 (TPS XI, 364-365).

55 Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, no. 23 (TPS XI, 190).

56 See Card. A. Cicognani, letter to 2nd National Italian Congress of Pastors in Tourist Localities: L’Osservatore Romano, Oct. 24-25, 1968.

57 See Instruction on Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, no. 19 (TPS XII, 221). See also Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 44 (TPS XI, 287-288).

58 See Sacred Congr. of the Council, Litterae Circulares, no. 104132, Mar. 19, 1966.

59 See Instruction on Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, no. 28 (TPS XII, 224); see, by analogy, Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches, no. 15 (TPS X, 170).

60 Card. A. Cicognani, letter to first Italian Congress on Tourism and the Pastoral

Ministry: L'Osservatore tore Romano, Feb. 6, 1963: "The initiatives relating to culture and religion cannot be sufficiently praised. Their experience in some great centers of tourism has proved to be an efficacious and wonderful means of encountering many faraway souls." See also Paul VI: L’Osservatore Romano, Mar. 8, 1964.

61 See John XXIII: AAS 54 (1962). 454 (TPS VIII, 149-150); see also Declaration on Christian Education, no. 2 (TPS XI, 202-203).

62 Paul VI: L’Osservatore Rornano, June 7, 1964.

63 See Paul VI: L’Osservatore Romano, Jan. 24, 1969.

64 See Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 30 (TPS XI, 277). See also Paul VI: AAS 57 (1965), 907-909.

65 See Paul VI: AAS 59 (1967), 429. It is to be remembered that on Mar. 7., 1969, Pope Paul VI proclaimed St. Martha patron saint of hotelkeepers: L’Osservatore tore Rornano, Mar. 8, 1964.

66 See Pius XII. Oct. 29, 1953: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Ed. Pol. Vat., vol. XV, 448 (TPS 1, 60-63).

67 See AAS 59 (1967), 589-592. a) Concerning those of Eastern Rites, no. 52 of the Directory states FTPS XII, 261): "Because ‘common participation in sacred functions, places and things on the part of Catholics and our separated Eastern brethren is allowed for a just cause’ (Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches, no. 28), it is recommended that with the approval of the local ordinary separated Eastern priests or communities be allowed the use of Catholic churches, buildings and cemeteries and other things necessary for their religious rites, if they ask for this, and have no place in which they can celebrate sacred functions properly and with dignity."

b) Concerning other Christians, no. 61 of the Directory states (TPS XII, 263):

"If the separated brethren have no place in which to carry out their religious rites properly and with dignity, the local ordinary may allow them the use of a Catholic building, cemetery or church."

68 See AAS, ibid., no. 53 (TPS XII, 261-2621: "The authorities of Catholic schools and institutions should take care to offer the Eastern clergy every facility for giving spiritual and sacramental ministration to their own faithful who attend such schools and institutions. As far as circumstances allow, and with the local ordinary’s permission, these facilities can be offered on the Catholic premises, including the church."

No. 54 (TPS XII, 262): "In hospitals and similar institutions conducted by Catholics, the authorities should promptly advise the Eastern priest of the presence of his faithful, and give him facilities to visit the sick and administer the sacraments to them in dignified and reverent conditions."

69 See AAS, ibid., no. 62 (TPS XII, 263).: "The authorities of Catholic schools and institutions should take care to offer to ministers of other communions every facility for giving spiritual and sacramental ministration to their own communicants who attend Catholic institutions. These ministrations may be given in Catholic buildings, in accordance with the above, no. 61." No. 63 (TPS XII, 263): "In hospitals and similar institutions conducted by Catholics, the authorities in charge should promptly advise ministers of other communions of the presence of their communicants and afford them every facility for visiting the sick and giving them spiritual and sacramental ministrations."

70 See Decree on the Priestly Ministry and Life, no. 6 (TPS XI, 450): "Nor should his own community confine its zeal to its own members but, reaching out to all men, must show them the path to Christ."

71 See Card. A. Cicognani, letter to 2nd Italian Congress of Pastors of Tourist

Localities: L'Osservatore Romano, Oct. 24-25, 1966: "The pastoral ministry of tourism, as forming part of the organic pastoral ministry, depends on and must be ensured by the local ordinaries."

72 See Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, no. 23 (TPS XI, 190).

72a See TPS XI, 381.—En.

72b See TPS XI, 383.—En.

73 Paul VI: L’Osservatore Romano, Jan. 20, 1966 (TPS XI, 155).

74 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 28 (TPS X, 379).

74a See TPS X, 374-375.—En.

75 See Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 28 (TPS X, 378-379). See also Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, no. 30 (TPS XI, 193-194).

76 Dogmatic Constitution on. the Church, no. 28 (TPS X, 379).

76a See TPS XII, 238.—ED.

77 Dogmatic Constitution. on the Church, no. 29 (TPS X, 380). See also ‘motu proprio’ Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem (June 18, 1967), nos. 1 and 2 (TPS XII, 238-239).

78 Concerning the duties of laymen, this has already been dealt with in this Directory. and several conciliar texts relating to this matter have been cited.

79 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today. no. 43 (TPS XI, 286). See also 1 Pt 2, 9-12; Gal 4, 19; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, nos. 7 and 9 (TPS X. 362-363 and 364-365); Declaration on Christian Education, no. 2 (TPS XI, 202-203).

80 Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, no. 10 (TPS XI. 1281. See also Pastoral Constitution. on the Church in the World of Today, no. 13 (TPS Xl, 2621.

81 Decree on the Apostolate of the La Laity, no. 13 (TPS XI. 130); see also no. 29 (TPS XI, 138): "To further good relations with all men, lay people should respect truly human values, especially those related to living and working in brotherhood with others and establishing dialogue with them." See also Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, nos. 16 and 72 (TPS XI, 268 and 308). See Decree on Ecumenism, no. 12 (TPS X, 180-181); Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, no. 41 (TPS XI, 439-440).

82 See Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, no. 21 (TPS XI, 428-429).

83 See Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, no. 41 (TPS XI, 439-440).

84 See Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 43 (TPS XI, 285-287).

85 Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, no. 21 (TPS XI, 428). See also Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, no. 30 (TPS XI, 193-194).

86 See Decree on the Pastoral 0ffice of Bishops in the Church, no. 27 (TPS XL, 192).

87 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 87 (TPS XI, 281).

88 St. Augustine, Soliloquia, I, 1, 3: PL 32, 870.